AUSTIN, Texas — Governor Rick Perry announced on Wednesday an executive order requiring all Texas state agencies to use “E-Verify” to check the employment eligibility of current and prospective employees. The announcement was a reversal of his past public comments on the issue.
E-Verify is an online system that allows employers to search a government database to determine if their employees are eligible to work in the United States. Currently, seventeen Texas agencies already use E-Verify. Perry’s executive order will expand the system to require it for “all state agencies under control of the Governor’s Office and all those with whom they enter into contracts for services to determine the work eligibility of employees and subcontractors.”
Four years ago, facing a primary challenge from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Perry had been dismissive of the E-Verify system, saying that it would “not make a hill of beans’ difference when it comes to what’s happening in America,” according to the Quorum Report. According to Wednesday’s press release from Perry’s office, there have been “improvements to E-Verify that have streamlined the system and improved its accuracy.” The executive order specifies that “various necessary improvements have been made” to the system that have resulted in a higher percentage of employees being cleared as “work authorized” within 24 hours, fewer employees erroneously being designated as “unauthorized workers,” and a better ability to successfully identify “unauthorized workers” and “prevent them from entering the workforce.”
Perry also called on Congress to “finally pass a bill that dedicates the necessary resources to securing our border, once and for all,” accusing the federal government of allowing political posturing to overshadow the real issue of border security. “Without border security, immigration reform is a fruitless exercise,” said Perry, adding that President Obama’s recent announcement of executive action granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants was likely to increase the likelihood of future situations like this summer’s border crisis.
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